Skip to main content

Rachel Cohen

watercolor (4)

Sargent Notes

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I am writing this in a notebook that has on the cover of it a part of a Sargent water color.  It's of a house, gray and brown mingled in the wash, with a roof speckled and dashed with white.  An ordinary small mountain house, to which a stone wall in the shape of an S rises. Watercolor is a medium in which it is easy to lose the structures of things, but here everything has the shape that is proper to it because it does not wish to be otherwise. They are what they are, the [...] more

Morisot in Paris

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

At the Musée Marmottan last week a chance to really see Morisot: a whole room of the paintings; a smaller room with fifteen watercolors and a selection of works she owned; drawings by the artist and by members of her family; and a special exhibition of paintings from private collections that contained several further canvases. [Edouard Manet at the Isle of Wight, c1875]         Struck, afresh, by the strange quality of paint as she used it. Very thick, the strokes seeming to hang almost like banners in the air, sometimes gauzier as curtains, but sometimes [...] more

Feeling the Air, I

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I’ve had a few conversations recently with people who are not that interested in painting. They say, reasonably, that in museums they are overwhelmed by the profusion, or that only really contemporary painting is strange enough to compel their attention, or that in front of paintings long and loudly admired their eyes feel veiled by expectations and history.  It feels odd to say in the face of these large and genuine concerns that when I am at a museum I am often merely after a small, fine sensation.  The movement of light and air.  That’s all.  I know this [...] more

Open to the Public

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Last Friday at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum I had a notion of looking for her Sargents, to keep company with the sense of the artist developing in my mind because of the watercolor show at the MFA.  On entering the Gardner I must have half-noticed a small poster with a Venetian-looking Sargent on it, but this didn’t entirely register. I went first to the new wing to look at the Sophie Calle show Last Seen, about the great theft of pictures from the Gardner in 1990.   This show I liked very much.  Simple, a photograph of a person [...] more